Flight Training Videos: How Relevant Are They?
Mary Ann O’Grady
The term andragogy, which is defined as “the art and science of helping adults learn,” was used as early as 1833 but it was popularized in the United States by Malcolm Knowles in the 1970s (Whitmyer, 1999, p. 1). Originally, andragogy was contrasted with the term pedagogy, which focused on helping children to learn but over time. However, the term pedagogy became so entwined with educational or instructional design that the two terms have become synonymous. According to Knowles, as cited in Whitmyer (1999), andragogy is based upon four primary assumptions regarding adult learners and how they differ from child learners. First, their self-concept shifts from dependence to self-direction. Second, their expanding reservoir of experience serves as a resource for learning. Third, their focus on learning becomes oriented toward the developmental requirements of their social roles. Fourth, they immediately want to apply what they have learned to the challenges of real life. Accordingly, their academic orientation shifts from one of subject-centeredness to one of problem-centeredness as illustrated by the following assumptions:
|Subject matter||Only one right way||Many ways|
|Motivation to learn, change or improve||External and dictated by others||Internal response to personal or career needs|
|Role of experience||Unimportant, discounted||Resource that serves as a basis for learning, change or improvement|
Must be integrated
|Learner||Requires outside direction||Ability to self-direct|
|Learning orientation||Subject-centered, Logic-oriented||Life/career-centered|
When entering flight school training, which includes ground school (theoretical), flight school (practical application), and testing (written and practical/flight test with an FAA examiner), the mastery of the course material as well as the practical application is often supplemented by flight training videos. These flight training videos are available through various sources including the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and not-for-profit aviation associations. The format of the FAA broadcasts provides one-way videos and two-way audio satellite broadcasts that conduct short training and briefing sessions. All broadcasts that are classified as actual training courses are videotaped and close-captioned and made available as Video Self Study Courses. For example, two FAA videos specifically addressing aircraft certification service/air worthiness directives are available through Keybridge Technologies, Inc., and additional information pertaining to the ATN may be found on the FAA’s website.
Since the 1930s, not-for-profit associations have purported their mission statements to include the education of pilots, non-pilots, and policy makers alike, and remain dedicated to protecting pilots’ freedom to fly while keeping general aviation safe, enjoyable and affordable. Such associations continue to meet their education goals by providing flight training videos addressing a number of topics:
- Weather and go/no-go decisions
- Collision avoidance
- Weather and pilot error
- Weather and IFR flight planning
- Weather and VFR flight planning
- Avoiding power-on stalls
- NOAA’s Aviation Weather Center (ADDS)
- Gathering information about weather
- Angle of attack indicators
- Forced landings
The Internet also offers access to information relating to IFR risk management, instrument flying, GPS strategies, practical airmanship, and the strategies for becoming an adequately prepared pilot.
In recent years, the more typical list of instructional videos has been expanded to address more advanced aviation contexts, such as crew tracking, flight simulation, virtual chart plotter, aviation charts, business aviation navigation solutions and business training solutions; fatigue data collection, and mobile TC for the Samsung Galaxy Android Tablet. Updated training products, such as computer software, electronic books, and optional subscriptions that allow access to all the terminal charts and airport diagrams via tablets have begun to replace the traditional hard copy format. Instructional flight training videos appeal not only to novice pilots but also to pilots who are in the process of returning to flying as evidenced by the videos that address the issues of pilot currency requirements, TSA security awareness, the ever-challenging crosswind landings, and non-tower airport communications.
Videos are in a unique position to illustrate both of the two broad categories of practical examples posited by the academic research conducted by the teaching assistant fellows at the University of Wisconsin (1995). First, videos that aid in the explanation of theory and new concepts, and second, videos that illustrate the practical application of basic principles. These practical examples can also be sub-divided into different types based upon the format in which they are being used: analogies, observations, demonstrations that are experimental or mathematical, sensing phenomena, and observing secondary effects. When combined with one or more of the effective teaching strategies (practical examples, show and tell, case studies, guided design projects, open-ended labs, the flowchart technique, open-ended quizzes, brainstorming, question-and-answer method, and software) videos effectively serve to reinforce or anchor the course content for the student.
The guidelines underlying andragogy echo the need for the simultaneous development and presentation of a theoretical and practical foundation since neither one is useful without the other. However, andragogy also reflects adult students’ ability to self-direct as well as their ability to employ multiple means of assimilating the aviation course content. Since the construction of a culture of continuous improvement is a collaborative effort between aviation students and their flight instructors, the access to flight training videos aids in the successful acquisition of the flight school’s learning objectives. Access to advanced technology and the Internet provides aviation students and flight instructors with the capability to conveniently download instructional videos to their computers, tablets, and smartphones. Video programs also allow the production of short videos by flight instructors and their students that can be posted within an online course room or on social media for mutual viewing.
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Strategies for Effective Teaching, A Handbook for Teaching Assistants. (1995). University of Wisconsin – Madison College of Engineering. Retrieved on February 26, 2016, from http://www.engr.wisc.edu/services/elc/strategies.pdf Whitmyer, C., (1999). Andragogy versus Pedagogy. San Francisco, CA: FutureU Press.